7 Facts About Water Softeners That Will Keep You Up At Night

If you’ve ever had trouble with hard water in your home, you know the benefit of installing a water softening system. To many homeowners accustomed to municipal water, maintaining a home water softening system can seem like a daunting task. Sound familiar? It’s time to tame your water treatment fears!

Read on to learn the most common questions and how to ease your concerns.

1. How large are the water softening units?

If you are adding a water softening system to your existing home, you may be wondering about the unit’s size. Even more, you are likely concerned with how much space a water softener will need.

There are many different options for water softening units. Lack of space shouldn’t be a reason to compromise water quality. Compact water softeners are available for locations with limited space.

Depending on the water treatment needed at your home, several different processes may be necessary to deliver the best water. Look for a water softening system that uses a single unit to do the job of 2-3 pieces of equipment in order to save space in your home.


2. Where does the water softener backwash?

Are you concerned about the salty backwash from a water softening system? The backwash from a water softener can go to a drain field and/or a septic tank. Studies have shown this regeneration does not interfere with percolation.   If you are concerned about the effects of salt water on solids separation within the septic tank, two options are available: a separate drywell or a line run from the treatment discharge to the drain field.

3. How much salt does a water softener use? How often does it need salt?

The amount of salt needed to maintain your water softening system depends on two factors: (1) The amount of contaminants in the water and (2) the amount of water your household consumes. A water treatment specialist can test your water and calculate the salt needed based on estimated usage.

You’ll want to check the salt level of your water softener at least once a month. For more details, check with a local water treatment specialist for your water softening system salt usage.

4. Do I really need multiple forms of treatment?

The choices may seem overwhelming when choosing a water treatment system. Determining the right water treatment system can be difficult. Working with a certified water treatment specialist will help you navigate the process and determine what water treatment options are best suited to your specific water quality issues.

Typically, a multi-step treatment is necessary to provide the best water for your home. Removal of different contaminant can require several treatment processes. There are, however, systems that combine several treatments into one unit.

You will also want to consider the amount of water you would like to treat. Point of use systems treat smaller amounts, such as drinking water. Larger, point of entry water softening systems treat the water as it enters the home.

5. What will I have to do to maintain my water softening system?


The most important part of maintaining a water softener is adding the right type of salt as needed. Regular maintenance can be completed by a homeowner or a water treatment professional. If there’s a change in water quality, contact a water treatment company to diagnose the problem.

6. Is hard water really damaging my appliances?

This is a common question from homeowners. Build up from minerals in your water can damage or shorten the life of common household appliances. Dishwashers, water heaters, and washing machines are most commonly affected because calcium precipitates from water faster when the water is heated.  Tank-less water heaters are especially susceptible to the effects of calcium.  Most appliances have a limit of the hardness that the unit may be subject too without voiding the warranty, check your owner’s manuals for specifics.   Therefore, investing in a water softening system will improve, prevent, and/or reverse, clogged pipes and thus improve water pressure and flow.

7. Does a water softener remove iron?


The first step is to determine the type of iron in the water. The Maryland aquafers contain ferrous iron, ferric iron, as well as iron algae/iron bacteria. A water softener is only able to treat iron in the ferrous state. For ferrous iron and iron algae/iron bacteria other treatment methods would be required.  A trained water treatment specialist is equipped to identify the other forms of iron, and determine the best solution for the specific water quality.  If iron algae or iron bacteria are not treated prior to the softener, the softener will fail prematurely.